Friday, 8 May 2015

Old events, ever new.

A need to do some clearing up & getting the train room ready for my shift at hosting the local group meeting brought back another of those old events, ever new thingy's.  Its one of those annoying little things that seems to be ever present with me, yep its an old thing, but shows up in ever new ways, especially to cause frustrations, & raises my blood pressure, also increases my heart beat without the need for my pacemaker to wear out much of its battery power.

Three aspects were needed to prepare for the meeting, & one was to try & ensure I could run some trains, so I thought a good time to test my DJH 59cl to see how it handled things, I had been warned a bit about the longer & more rigid chassis of these models that would find any faults in my track, likewise I was told the same would happen with the DJH 57 & 58classes, but if the 59cl would negiotiate the tracks, then the others would not be too bad.  Well I did find some glitchy spots with the 59cl but after a couple of hours work on the small spots of bother, & the model went around without any further problems. So a degree of joy & satisfaction was achieved.

So next was to get the various items ready for the tree clinic I was doing that night.  This was not a great concern as it was just a build up of what I had been doing for the past 6 odd weeks as I did a lot of tree clearings on the layout & getting rid of a lot of rubbish items as well as cleaning up old trees ready to be updated a bit.  Likewise the need to do some new armatures for the main trees to demonstrate how to create totally different trees to those I had done in the past. I have to say this whole exercise with the tree making has been immensely satisfying to me,

The third item was one that while small in its presence & size, is one of those things that raises my temperature somewhat as its one of those things that does not go away, & I have wrent my frustrations about it in previous blogs.

As I cleared away all models from the tracks around Moblayne, I happened to notice a small black item sitting near the track approach to the goods road area, I picked it up & it was something totally different to anything I had seen before, & it had me scratching my head as to what it was. It took me a little while as I retraced what I had been doing, all the R.S items I had moved away did not have anything that would remotely resemble having anything like it on them, until I remembered one specific item that I had moved, & located it around that spot for a short period of time,

I went over & picked the model up, & finally found where the black bit was meant to go. So what was this mysterious bit?  It was off one of the newish Austrains ACX coaches bogies, & was quite obvious where it fitted, as the bogie seems to have more seperately applied bits on it than other bogies I had seen.  The small item was a single casting that included the axle box cover, with spring attached over it & then a small piece which would be some sort of shock absorber, the bogie sideframe itself showed just how devoid or real detail with this bit missing.

The trick was to locate the 6 small pin bits to the associated holes in the bogie sideframe without damaging any of the other fine plastic detail around the bogie.  Thankfully, I was able to get the bit back in place with a fair degree of care, but I am not happy about how securely its going to stay together, as experience has shown me with other models that have these plastic bits fall off are rarelly able to be glued back on satisfactorilly.

Its likely to be something I read about a while back about a new bogie making technique being tried by a Chinese company whereby the main bogie assembly will be cast in one piece, & most, or all of the external parts will be made seperately & then factory applied to models assembly. It meant that a bogie that had different external looks to them could be made much cheaper than having to cast a full bogie for each, & this applied to Dean type bogies & while I am no bogie expert, I am thinking that the bogies on the ACX are in that category, with the standard & Dean bogie having slight differences to them.

While thats all well & good, it raises that old issue of detail vses quality, that is with the way the amount of extra detail that is said to be demanded by modellers. But I wonder who are the said modellers demanding this, as I doubt they would be asking for the fragile element in the amount of it,
rather if the demands came from operators they would be looking for for the detail to be more robust in nature. Not much point if the items end up more on the floor or layout after short time use or even gentle handling, in a derailment or the like.

On one of the sidings I had an OTM LLV, Casula G wagon kit part assembled, Eureka G wagon, 2 TOR original S trucks, one TOR Steel S tuck, & Austrains Ultimate S truck. The level of the layout sits at the top of my stomach around 1200mm from the floor.  I stand around 5'10 tall & looking down on all those models, at distances from 8 inches & then full arms length away, I was only able to see, such items as the spider hand brakes, Grade Control Valves, Shunters steps, & on the S trucks the the main brake piston cylinders with the triple valves that hung down at one end, along with the brake tension rod wires.  All of the other sundry brake rigging was not visible, from either vantage point that I looked at them.

Of those models, the Ultimate S, G & LLV has relatively fragile plastic detail parts, already I have had to assemble the doors of the G wagon as it fell to bits when I lifted the door top locking section, & that was fun getting it back together.  Following on from this I had the doors again come off & not they are all glued together, but still feel quite fragile.


  1. Col,

    Possibly there are two issues here, the level of detail and whether it can be seen from a reasonable angle and distance, and secondly, the way the parts are fabricated.

    Certainly, the distance and angle of the viewer dictates what detail we will see. Personally, most of the time, I observe my models from a similar angle as you but sometimes, I will lower my point of view to something close to track level. Even there, it is difficult to see the full detail of the brake arrangement although the presence of the brake arrangement is evident. Perhaps the solution used by the current version of the TOR S truck is a workable compromise.

    My grumble is perhaps more about the way some detail are assembled. I can understand why items are cast separately and then assembled but the use of press fitting rather than gluing leads to the type of problem you have described. I suppose the manufacturers would argue that it speeds the manufacturing process, but the trail of loose parts is a bit frustrated. Certainly, I haven't experienced a similar problem with kits I have built.
    cheers Phil

  2. Phil

    Its a hard topic in many ways as there are a lot of different viewpoints, as mentioned I hear some importers say that they are responding to modellers & their wants, yet I see others who are modellers themselves bringing out high detailed models for sale as well no doubt they also get the benefit of them as well, which is really no problem to me in regards to the last mentioned group after all they are the ones investing their time & money in the projects so deserve to have some personal return for it.

    The other part is that the importers are also guided by the factories & the engineers there as to how they can produce models to best reflect their abilities as well as what is expected these days, especially with the bar being constantly on the rise, or so it would seem, therefore they are also in a sense under pressure to bring out models that both comply & suit their clients.

    No doubt they push their methods of factory line productions, which then raises a further point in the problem & that is our those from the importers who visit China & the factories wise enough to pick up the deficiencies in the model? Now that may seem harse on those who do go, & no doubt try to do a good job in ensuring the model arrives at certain levels of quality, both in detail & running.
    But each will also say that what they see in China does not always, which may mean rarelly, is it reflected in what arrives here for sale,

    That being the case, the element of quality needs to more along the line of durability as well. To achieve that may mean a choice between cost increases for that to be achieved or a rethink on what amount of add on detail is put on the model, at the very least I believe the items that are likely to be affected by dropsy or suffer from a visit by Charlie Twang, & we solve the mystery of found twanged item, should be of a material where readily available model glues are able to reglue the items into their respective spots.